Auto Accident Lawyer: Understanding Car Accidents in Florida involving Children
Any car accident has the potential to be traumatizing, but those that involve children can be particularly devastating. Children are more susceptible to serious and long-term injuries. Younger children specifically are not yet fully developed and thus less protected against the impact they sustain in auto accidents. For this reason, it is critical to get fair and just compensation when a car accident involves children in Florida. Physical injuries that may take years to heal and mental health issues that may take even longer to solve deserve to be properly considered in any kind of settlement or jury verdict.
At Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, our auto accident lawyer in Tampa understands how important it is for families to be compensated in order to heal properly. Contact our office today at 813-320-7500 to schedule a Free to learn more about your legal options.
Are Car Accident Claims in Florida Different for Children? What is the average settlement for a child in a car accident?
When it comes to making a personal injury claim for a child involved in a car accident, the child usually has the same right to compensation as an adult. They can seek damages for medical expenses, loss of ability to earn an income, and pain and suffering. In certain situations, they can also seek punitive damages.
However, there are some key differences between car accident claims for adults and those for children.
Firstly, minors cannot file their own personal injury claim. Instead, their parents or guardian must do so on their behalf. Alternatively, a child can wait until they reach the age of majority (usually 18 years of age) to file their own claim.
There are also different procedural requirements for personal injury claims involving children. For example, in many jurisdictions, a judge must review and approve the settlement agreement.
Injuries to Children from Car Accidents in Florida and the average settlement for a child in a car accident
The types of injuries commonly sustained by children in car accidents also differ from adults, which can impact the level of compensation they receive. As children's bodies are still developing, they are more prone to certain types of injuries.
Common injuries in car accident cases involving children include those to the head or brain, spinal cord, and thoracic areas, as well as fractures and psychological trauma.
Head or Brain Injuries
Head or brain injuries are one of the most common injuries sustained by children in car accidents, especially in children under one. Injuries of this nature can have serious, long-lasting impacts on a child's cognitive development and their ability to participate in school and other activities.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Especially in babies and toddlers, the neck area is highly flexible. This makes the latter age group more susceptible to spinal cord injuries as a result of a car accident.
In motor vehicle accidents, children under the age of one year have a higher chance of sustaining significant injuries to their heart and lungs as a result of a blow to the chest. Fractured ribs are another common injury.
Given children's bones are still developing, they're more prone to fractures than adults. Depending on the location of the fracture, like a growth plate, there can be future issues in terms of growth and therapy.
The trauma of a car accident can lead to ongoing psychological conditions in children, such as anxiety. These can require ongoing counseling or other treatment.
Minors and the Statute of Limitations in Florida?
The statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim for a child involved in a car accident varies between states.
If a parent files a claim on behalf of their child, the state's standard limitation period for personal injury claims usually applies, starting from the date of the accident.
However, when a minor wishes to file their own claim, many states delay the start of the statute of limitations until the child reaches the age of majority (often 18 years of age).
So, if a child is injured in a car accident when they're 16 in a state with a two-year statute of limitations, the child has until age 20 to file their own personal injury claim. If the parents were to file the claim, they have two years from the date of the accident to do so.
Are There Any Differences When Filing a Claim for a Child in Florida If They Were in a Car Accident?
When it comes to filing a claim for compensation for personal injuries sustained by a child involved in a car accident, the child typically has the same right to compensation as an adult. They have the legal right to seek compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering caused by the accident. They also have the ability to seek punitive damages in certain circumstances.
However, adult claims for damages in a car accident and child claims for injuries differ significantly in several significant ways.
To begin, minors are not permitted to file their claims for personal injuries. Instead, their parents or guardians are the ones who are responsible for doing this on their behalf. A child also can delay the process of filing their claim until they reach the age of majority, which in most countries is 18 years old.
Personal injury claims filed by children are subject to a different set of procedural requirements than those filed by adults. For instance, the terms of the average settlement for a child in a car accident the settlement agreement are subject to inspection and approval by a judge in many jurisdictions.
Injuries Sustained by Children as a Result of Motor Vehicle Crashes in Florida
In addition, the kinds of injuries that children in car accidents typically sustain differ from those usually sustained by adults, which can affect the amount of compensation awarded to them. Children's bodies are still developing faster than adults, making them more susceptible to certain types of injuries.
In the event of a car accident involving a child, the most common types of injuries include those to the head or brain, spinal cord, and thoracic regions, in addition to fractures and psychological trauma.
Injuries to the Head or the Brain
When it comes to injuries sustained by children, car accidents are one of the leading causes of head and brain trauma, especially in children younger than one-year-old. These kinds of injuries can have significant and long-lasting effects on a child's cognitive development and their ability to participate in activities such as school and extracurricular programs.
Injuries to the Spinal Cord
The neck is an exceptionally flexible region, particularly in the case of infants and toddlers. Because of this, people in the latter age group are more likely to suffer spinal cord injuries if they are involved in a car accident.
Trauma to the Chest (Thoracic)
In the event of a collision with a motor vehicle, infants and toddlers who have not yet reached their first birthday have a significantly increased risk of suffering severe injuries to their chest, including to their heart and lungs. Rib fractures are yet another typical type of injury.
Children's bones are still developing, which makes them more susceptible to breaking than adult bones. There may be complications in terms of growth and treatment in the future, depending on the location of the fracture, such as if it occurred in a growth plate.
Psychological Shock and Abuse
Children may develop long-term psychological conditions like anxiety due to the traumatic experience of being in a car accident. These conditions may call for ongoing therapy or some other form of treatment.
What is the relationship between minors and Florida's statute of limitations?
There is no uniform time limit that all states adhere to when it comes to filing a personal injury claim on behalf of a child injured in a car accident.
If a parent files a claim on behalf of their child, the state's standard limitation period for personal injury claims will typically apply, beginning with the date of the accident, and it will apply even if the parent is the one filing the claim.
On the other hand, the beginning of the statute of limitations in many states is not considered to begin counting down until the child reaches the age of majority if the minor wishes to file their claim (often 18 years of age).
Therefore, in a state where the statute of limitations is two years, and a child is injured in a car accident when they are 16 years old, the child does not have the legal right to file a personal injury claim until they are 20 years old. The parents have a window of two years, beginning from the date of the accident, in which they can submit a compensation claim.
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